A New Look at the Freedom of Information Act

Sep 8, 2014 | , , , ,

There are many ways the public can get information from the federal government. For example, you can check out to find scores of datasets and APIs, agency websites for information about their work, or other important information in online FOIA Libraries. Or you can also just ask for it. Since 1966, the Freedom of Read »

White House SocialGov Summit Aims to Improve Open Data Innovation

Aug 19, 2014 |

More than 100 digital engagement and open data managers from across government met with leaders in the private sector startup community August 7 at the White House for a summit on integrating our digital services with public participation to create more Read »

The Minimum Viable Building Blocks For a Federal Government API Hub

Aug 18, 2014 |

My name is Kin Lane, I am the API Evangelist, and a round two Presidential Innovation Fellow. I spend each day looking through the developer portals and hubs for API across the private sector. Recently I’ve also spent time looking at 77 federal government API developer portals and 190 APIs, and Read »

The Contributor’s Guide to 18F: Code for the Common Good

Aug 15, 2014 |

Introduction Transparency in coding makes code more secure. Open-source development is development in the light, sometimes a harsh light, that shows every blemish. At 18F we strongly believe this improves the rapidity of our coding and the quality and security of the code. We keep the code open to each other, which allows us to Read »

The API Briefing: An API that Searches other APIs – HealthData.Gov’s Catalog API

Aug 6, 2014 |

As federal agencies release APIs on an almost daily basis, keeping track of the numerous datasets has become a vital service for developers. The Department for Health and Human Services (HHS) manages HealthData.Gov which currently lists 1,680 datasets in 36 categories such as “Public Health,” “Health Care Cost,” and “Health Statistics.” To help developers find Read »

Working In Public From Day 1

Aug 4, 2014 |

In the wide world of software, maybe you’ve heard someone say this, or maybe you’ve said it yourself: “I’ll open source it after I clean up the code; it’s a mess right now.” Or: “I think there are some passwords in there; I’ll get around to cleaning it out at some point.” Or simply: “No Read »

The API Briefing: Mapping Food Deserts – The USDA Economic Research Service’s GIS Map Services

Jul 23, 2014 |

Food deserts are areas where residents have little or no access to nutritional food. Food deserts exist because of low-incomes, lack of transportation, or too few stores that stock produce and other healthy food items. Governments from the local level to federal have implemented grant programs to encourage grocery store construction in the food deserts. Read »

Mobile Gov Code Chop Shop: Help Department of Labor Share Their App Functionality Gov-wide

Jul 21, 2014 | ,

You’ve just found a great open source fed agency app on the Mobile Code Sharing Catalog, and would love to use one of its cool functionalities for your own agency’s app. As federal agencies release more and more code to the open source Read »

The API Briefing: RealTrack – How Hackathons Help Create Apps from APIs

Jul 16, 2014 |

Once a federal agency releases an API, there are several ways they can be used in apps. The most common method is through hackathons. Hackathons are where an agency or agencies present the API(s) and invite developers to create prototype apps. The apps Read »

The API Briefing: The Census Bureau’s Discovery Tool – Find the Right API for Your App

Jun 25, 2014 |

The Census Bureau recently released a “machine-readable dataset discovery service” that lists 41 Census data sets. It’s in spreadsheet form and gives a description of the datasets along with links to the API and developer documentation. What makes the discovery service machine readable is that’s based on Project Open Data’s “Common Core Metadata Schema” that Read »

The API Briefing: Department of State’s Model App – Education USA

Jun 18, 2014 |

Not only does the Department of State have a great set of APIs, State also has an excellent example of how to build an informative and useful app. EducationUSA is a network of State Department advisers who help international students apply for U.S. university programs. Read »

Challenge and Prize Practitioners Gather at GSA

Jun 13, 2014 |

Got innovation? Well, we do! On Wednesday May 28, the team gathered the Challenges and Prizes Community of Practice together for its quarterly meeting. The group covered two topics: Highlights from challenge competitions run in 2013. Read »

The API Briefing: Quick Guide to Using GitHub – FDA’s OpenFDA Research Project

Jun 11, 2014 |

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) just released the OpenFDA Research Project. At the heart of the project is the OpenFDA API, which allows developers to perform searches on FDA’s drug information database. Coming soon is the ability to search FDA information on medical devices and information about food. Visit the Read »

Overcoming Barriers—DigitalGov Summit Recap

Jun 5, 2014 |

As government innovators, we work to improve public services every day. In essence we are already in a public private partnership. But how can your agency capitalize on existing public private partnerships to engage citizens and enhance services? Four panelists from across government shared their public private partnerships success stories at the DigitalGov Citizen Services Read »

The Importance of Cross-Channel Customer Service—DigitalGov Summit Recap

Jun 5, 2014 |

During the DigitalGov Citizen Services Summit last Friday, customer service experts from across government came together on a panel to share what customer service means to them and their organization and specific ways they leverage it. The other panels were on performance analysis, public private partnerships, and inter-agency work. The panelists spoke about the strategies Read »